Event Space Video: Love Comes in at the Eye: Lessons From a Veteran Wedding Photographer


Veteran photographer Mel DiGiacomo visits the B&H Event Space and discusses his approach to covering weddings and other types of events. DiGiacomo has worked for such notable clients as Ron Howard's daughter, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and tennis champion Pam Shriver. The video features an extensive slideshow. You’ll also find bits of philosophy, insights into lens selection and some tips and tricks for creative shots.

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Yikes. I'm not sure if I agree with much of what he had to say! Cummon... he gives the client RAW files on disk and walks away???

He can permit himself to walk away, since the RAW files he leaves are lasting images.

Yeah, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard. Most people can't even resize an image for email. They're going to find someone to convert? For money? For free? It is a nice thought though, just shoot and that's it, like film. Wonder what this guy charges.

I do not agree with "most" of what this veteran photographer says about capturing a wedding day! What was he smoking before this presentations?

Odds are the client won't know what to do with a RAW file or even have the right software to view the RAW file. It is almost like giving someone the negatives (which I see your point, can be harmless or not helpful) and them not having a dark room. Then again, since he's been around for a while and well seasoned in his field, I'm sure he's not worried about the extra $ of the whole copyright fiasco that us as photographers do.

That's his style and it works for him in his shooting days.

I totally agree. How can he give RAW files to a client when he says he is in the 'art' business?

Apart from framing/cropping/lighting on the shoot, what you do with the RAW files afterwards is the rest of the 'art'.

Contrast, gamma, color, effects etc etc. Even the printer and paper effect the final result.

I didn't watch past the first 5 minutes.

Yea, but he said he explains that to them in the beginning and they are fine with that, otherwise there are 15,765,563,321,432 other photographers that they can choose from, to each their own...

Generally agree with most of what Mel says, not sure about giving clients raw files on a disc though, the advantage of raw files is that the photographer can tweak the images before giving them to the couple, giving them raws is a bit like a baker selling dough so the customers can bake it. One thing I'm not a fan of though, is his use of flash, it seemed to be used in most of the examples, (possibly because he's using a 20D, a 5Dmk3 allows us to get images in very low light).

Very interesting----some different ideas


I would not agree using a wide angle lens and getting close to the subject material. THAT is when people start looking at the camera with results of a typical point-and-shoot camera pose. Using a telephoto takes the photographer out of the picture such that the natural poses/shots are preserved. But then again each photographer has their own style and if the end results are acceptable to the bride that's all that really counts.

I must add that I believe that photographers probably exceed requirements when it comes to orignality, lighting, composition, etc. It has always been my experience that MOST people are satisfied with just seeing their pictures or pictures of their friends and they are not even aware of all the technical sides of the picture that professionals jump through hoops to obtain.

My favorite part so far is minute 6-7-ish.
Is how i think also;)
.....not done watching yet, I am excited to watch more!

I have been feeling the urge to do a wedding in black and white with ambient light only. I love the look and feel of it, colour and flash cant match it. This guy has inspired me to propose it & see how it goes.

He is a veteran photographer. He is considered old school. He likes to keep it simple, and it works for him and you have to respect that. However photography has changed over the years, and in my opinion this type of photography would not work in todays weddings. People pay lots of money for a wedding photographer and most of his images that he is showing would probably not cut it. I don't think any wedding photographer would want to shoot images that close to the action. Most wedding photographers know they can capture images of people being themselves without getting to close. I think most people would find it annoying if a photographer was walking among the wedding guest and shooting pictures up close. I do think that it is a good idea to print and select certain images in black and white. It gives it a different perspective to the images and a vintage look. Although I respect him has a veteran pro, He probably was an excellent sports photographer. You should stick at what you are good at. It is better to try to specialize in one field in photography. Everyone knows that you would never hire an electrician to do your roof. Like he says in the beginning of the video, He is not a wedding photographer. Most likely he was never paid for these weddings and this is why he was able to shoot the wedding and give them disk without any concerns.

this photography photos were uninspiring, no directions and flat. there were nothing that he presented was challenging for seasonal veteran and up coming photography .the seminar abject failure a total wasted of time. in the near future get photography that in touch with reality and stay away photography are from the twilight zone.

I couldnt agree more about his comment about one photographer, one vision. Today so many brides are being advised ( usually by couples who shoot or two girls out of college with a camera) that more shooters the better. A good hard working photographer can get all the images necessary with the most important piece of equipment he takes with him/her...their eye.

Excellent info and great photography, images from a soul searching photographer how refreshing, get a replacement hip and keep on creating, you made my day, BRILLIANT !.

Wow. I have no desire to ever shoot a wedding as described by this photographer. I shoot both photo-journalistic and traditional styles. Also, I am not in the business of turning over RAW images to a client and telling them good luck...let someone else do the post-production. This in my humble opinion would be classified as incomplete service. When a bride hires me to capture her special day she expects me to manage the total product from beginning to end.
On the matter of not using a telephone lens (70-200mm), that is very hard to accept. During the reception, I do not wish to be in people faces...guess what....they do not want me to in their face. Proper use of telephoto allows me to capture special moments throughout the evening without interfering with the natural flow of the event. In fact, one will typically see me off to a corner at times on a nine foot ladder with my telephoto lens capturing images that those in the picture do not even know I am taking the picture.
There are certainly different styles in wedding photography all of which have their unique advantages. However, in this situation, I am struggling to really identify the benefits of what this gentleman offers.
Obviously, if he does a lot of weddings it works for him and his clients. For those just getting into weddings, you may want to seek other thoughts on shooting a wedding.

I wouldn't use a "telephone lens" either...

I couldn't disagree with this gentleman any more....Being classified as a "wedding photographer" is plenty to be proud of because capturing a wedding is not as easy given the fact that a photographer is working in an uncontrolled environment...I will go ahead and say it that it is the most stressful kind of photography because once that moment is gone...it's not coming back....

No offense to the speaker, but I wouldn't classify him as a "photographer who captures weddings"....Maybe he is good at other kinds of photography and I am sure he has tons of experience in other areas........

I agree with the fact that people who are getting into wedding photography should ACTUALLY use this as a source of the things NOT to do when getting into the wedding photography business....just my 2 cents

I watched the whole video and have learned more than a couple things from this gentleman.

Of course, I wouldn't shot an entire wedding using his system but I've written down some tips.

I love the idea of taking my Holga to my next wedding and take a couple of shots with it.

Thank you for the video, BH photo!

Good ideas to use next time. Photography is a hobby, although I worked as a newspaper photographer and veloxer early in my career before engineering. Photos are my “diary,” as the speaker said. My first "non-family" wedding in the film & slide era was as a guest at a friend’s wedding outdoors in a park. The "official" photographer did not want others taking pictures. I stayed back using my 70-200mm f2.8 (Minolta SRT). Returning from their honeymoon, the photographer told them that none of the pictures turned out. After this sad news, they went to the post office to pick up their mail—including my wedding gift of album and negatives. The bride was so excited, and pleased, she phoned, still in tears, long distance (back when long distance calls cost). My “friends and family” weddings since then show this speaker is correct with many things: shoot at “their” level, get close, use natural light, get or “make” movement, shoot everyone, be ready, zone focus or as I call it, focus in the dark—and if you know the couple or family, get their unique looks. I also like the “one view” method, and the “shoot” “everyone” item was reinforced when another couple I did a book for, called and told me I was the only photographer to get the Groom’s special Aunt. She was leaving early, not feeling well. I did not know of the special connection, but was told it was the last picture of her before she died.